NUJ condemns Newsquest plans for 11 editorial job cuts in Essex

Newsquest has announced plans to cut 11 editorial jobs in Essex, according to the National Union of Journalists.

The NUJ said the publisher is planning to make four features jobs and seven photographer positions redundant.

The union said this would leave two photographers to cover the south Essex region.

The cuts, it said, would affect the Daily Echo titles and weeklies in Thurrock, Chelmsford and Brentwood.

A rep for the NUJ chapel said: "We will have to rely more and more on submitted pictures, which are often poor quality. If a big story breaks, we  will not have the capacity to do the story justice with high quality pictures.

"The move seems especially short-sighted, bearing in mind the company has made a not insignificant amount of money in recent years from picture sales initiatives, such as school supplements, which can only make money from quality, professional, staff pictures.

"The loss of features writers is an insult to our readers. When Newsquest increased the cover price, to try to grapple back lost advertising revenue, the pay-off to readers was a large daily features section. This has gradually been whittled down, but with the loss of feature writers, what's left will be filled with agency and submitted copy."

Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, said: “Newsquest's short-sighted determination to undermine its own content continues. The wholesale outsourcing of photographic roles is reckless and callous.

"The loss of specialist features roles will leave a big hole. The skills of experienced people are being thrown overboard on a flimsy pretext.

"Newsquest should come clean work on its hidden agenda and show some respect for staff instead of continually targeting them."

Newsquest's managing director for Essex Michael Harper declined to comment.

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